Christmas elsewhere: comfort to the Syrian

jai-choisi-mamounie-parce“The mamounie for small Syrians is like pancakes or French for Quebec children: the promise of a dish made for them, gentle on the palate and warm in the belly,” says Marya Zarif.

Syria (Syrian Arab Republic)

Area: 185 180 km 2

Population: 16 million inhabitants (estimated 2014)

Capital: Damascus

Number of persons of Syrian origin in Canada: 40,840 (2011 Census)

As she slowly poured into water semolina that has previously been blondir in butter, she explains that the mamounié is not strictly speaking a Christmas Eve dish. In Syria, rather it is served on festival tomorrow, especially on Christmas morning. It is prepared at home, or we buy it ready made in the street, although steaming, to recover from the libations of the night before.

Although liturgically, Easter is more important than the Nativity in Syria, everyone stresses Christmas. “The festival has become internationalized, we now see the trees, strings, including in neighborhoods rather Muslims. In my childhood, Syria, people of all faiths coexisted without problems … “Marya said with a sigh.

Born and raised in Aleppo, she left 15 years ago to study at Montreal, Marya could only think of his battered city and those still living there despite the chaos, like his father, that n has not seen for five and a half. She also thinks, of course, to those who had to leave everything behind in hopes of a more normal life.

In January 2014, to create a place of dissemination and sharing the culture of his native Marya co-founded the House of Syria, which is of course mobilized, currently, around the arrival of thousands of refugees. Marya also co-founded the organization I want to play, which aims to put the game in the heart of the lives of young Syrians detained in camps for months or even years. It is thinking of all these displaced, but also to discover a less known dish of Syrian cuisine, she has chosen to talk about the mamounié.

“In these troubled times for the people of Syria, the heart is not so much to the sumptuous cuisine you can taste for example the restaurant Damascus. I chose the mamounié because it is a recipe for both extremely simple and wonderful, a dish of rich and poor, something that everyone loves. The base of the mamounié is semolina, which is very affordable and that Syrian refugees can easily find on their arrival. ”

While Marya speaks in his soft, lilting voice, mamounié “appears” – that’s what we said when semolina takes the creamy texture of a cream. “It’s the magic of mamounié! “Marya exclaimed, eyes shining. Two steaming bowls it poses on richly embroidered tablecloth emanates hot cinnamon fragrance. In the mouth, the magic too: the crunchy almonds and toasted pine nuts, the sweet creaminess of the meal, the sweetness of ricotta, salty Aleppo cheese that melts gently in all this … It is truly a bowl of well-being, a parcel of homeland, happiness absorbed teaspoons.

Tomorrow, Marya, who is Christian culture, will make his Christmas tree, with a nursery, another comfort item. “I love nurseries. I recognize our landscapes, our olive trees. And I think it’s a great story. ”

A story to share. With a bowl of mamounie!

Visit the website of the House of Syria

See the site I want to play:



4 cups water
2 cups sugar (white or brown, or maple syrup)
1 cup semolina average
A little bit of butter
1 Aleppo cheese braid (available in Eastern grocery stores, for example in Adonis)
Ricotta cheese

1. In a saucepan, add water and sugar and heat over medium heat until boiling.

2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a nonstick skillet, add the semolina and cook a few minutes (very little) until the semolina is golden color.

3. Slowly add the browned and buttered couscous in boiling water, stirring with a wooden spoon until the mixture remains smooth and homogeneous without lumps. To put out the fire. The mamounié should appear.

4. Pour into bowls or soup plates, garnish with a spoonful of ricotta, pine nuts and roasted almonds and sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Serve with cheese Aleppo unwound washed three times with water in a colander. Laugh and tell jokes, it is recommended to properly digest.

The Stopru